Stalking is an issue that affects 1.5 million people each year. While women are commonly the general target, men can become victims of stalkers as well. Stalkers share similar traits, each of which fuel what they do. Oftentimes a stalker’s motives are as easily profiled as their traits. Stalkers commonly share similar personality characteristics as well as reasons for doing what they do (Michele, 2002). Stalking has been around since the beginning of time. Men and women alike have been accused of such a crime because they either can’t get it out of their head that the other person does not want to have anything to do with them, or they are just obsessed with a stranger. It is just recent that the UK Government has decided to make stalking a crime in it self. This type of crime was labelled as harassment, annoyance, or domestic violence. It wasn’t until the 80’s and 90’s that stalking cases were brought to the attention of the media and high political policy makers (Michele, 2002).
Many stalkers are loners. Because of the lack of other relationships, they become severely attached to the idea of possessing a relationship with the person who they are stalking (Paul, 2000). In many cases, the lack of ability to form relationships starts at a young age. Some stalkers are neglected by their parents, and in turn are unable to form attachments with other people later on in life. This causes them to be extremely lonely, which is a main characteristic of a stalker. This lack of personal relationships, combined with a low self-esteem creates a feeling of worthlessness (Michele, 2002). They feel like without a connection with the person they are stalking, they have no purpose in life. This is one reason for most celebrity stalking. The idea of establishing a connection with a person of high status becomes appealing, because these stalkers believe that they will acquire a higher level of importance. When this does not happen, stalkers can often become extremely angry, even violent toward that person. Frustration builds up, and they do not know how to deal with the situation. This can sometimes lead to stalker related deaths.
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A common characteristic shared by most stalkers is their lack of anxiety, and even shame in a stalking scenario (Paul, 2000). In most situations, a person would be absolutely beyond embarrassed to be caught snooping around in another person’s personal belongings. Rummaging through someone’s garbage in order to find personal information would be so inappropriate that the average person would not even consider it. Beyond that, if they were, in fact, caught in the act, most people would be completely mortified. Stalkers, on the other hand, do not think this way. No action is too out of line. Stalkers see it as an attempt to gain the love of the person that they are stalking. These people seem to be immune to anxiety and discomfort, and in turn they have no trouble continuing in their pursuit.
Some of the tasks that are carried out by stalkers are quite difficult. Stalkers need way more intelligence than one would assume that they have. But although many of them have mental disorders, most stalkers are much smarter than the average person. Obtaining information about a person is not usually the easiest task, but stalkers may go as far as changing jobs in order to do so. Stalkers sometimes learn how to tap into phone conversations, hack into computers, and spend thousands of dollars to find a particular person, or information about that person.
Psychologists have long puzzled over the way in which individuals may act differently in identical situations, resulting in various strands of personality theory to have emerged within the realm of psychology each attempting to explain personality traits at various levels , these being experimental, psychometric and clinical (Michele, 2000). Butt (2004) notes how Eysenck’s theory although presented as a clinical approach to understanding individual difference, was fundamentally rooted within the psychometric tradition which emerged from within the mainstream paradigm in the early twentieth century. Most famously to appear from this era was the Likert scale- a graded style response questionnaire which had been engineered for attitude measurement. For Eysenck however psychometric testing aided the process of assessing and predicting individual levels and likelihood of extroversion or neuroticism by reducing dimensions of personality ranging on a bipolar scale from unstable to stable to either being classified as a typical extrovert or introvert. According to Eysneck the reduction of variables in personality traits to either extroversion or neuroticism could be biologically explained by differences in the cortical and autonomic arousal systems . According to Eysneck’s Personality Inventory individuals who were perceived with introspective, quiet, reserved and generally unsociable traits were classified as having a high N score whilst those who appeared optimistic, talkative, sociable and outgoing were prescribed a high E score. This lies in contrast to Eysenck’s model of a fixed personality which appears to be unaffected by external circumstance . In addition, Salmons re- working and application of theories in the context of educational learning has shown how her intervention of the ‘Salmon Line ‘ provides a basis for facilitating change (Jens, 2008). Salmons intentions in developing the Salmon Line were aimed at providing a tool that could stretch beyond diagnostic model and assist the learning process. The success of technique has been attributed to the ways in which behaviour change and learning is enhanced through eliciting pupils and teachers experiences and identifying areas of conflict and collaboration. The approach is rich in subjective experience captivating the diversity that exists amongst individuals and allowing for reflexivity in its approach. In summary for PCT theorists, differences in personality is viewed as a reflection of the complex ways in which individuals build constructions of their world rather than a simply reflection of innate biological forces. Having contrasted Eysneck’s theory with others people shall now explore to what use and purposes such theories can apply as well as their validity in either upholding an agency-structure dualistic approach or seeking to dissolve it (Jens, 2008).
Stalkers often also possess the ability to manipulate friends and family members of the person who they are stalking (Thomas, 2003). They will find ways to trick the people into giving away information about the person they are harassing. This involves a higher level of intelligence than that of an average person. Often, people who stalk celebrities suffer from a condition called erotomania, which is also known as de Clerambault’s syndrome. Stalkers fall deeply in love with a person and in their own mind, that person is in love with them as well. Stalkers will watch the actions of the person very closely, and even if they have never met the person before in their life, they believe that that person is in love with them as well. Stalkers may dream up an entire relationship, such as Margaret Ray did when she told people that she was David Letterman’s wife. Not only did she claim to be married to Letterman, but one day she showed up at his house carrying a baby which she demanded was his (“Letterman stalker killed by train in apparent suicide”)(Thomas, 2003).
Sometimes people will stalk celebrities simply because they desire the fame and status of those people. Michael Lewitte’s article “Serial Celebrity Daters” describes the lives of Lisa Chiafullo and Jennifer Young-two girls who are obsessed with being obsessed (Joseph, 2001). Each of these girls began dating the stars at young ages. While Jennifer grew up in luxury in Beverly Hills, Lisa was on welfare and in bad financial shape. While Jennifer enjoyed the high life and luxury of dating celebrities, Lisa sometimes counted on meals, shelter and money from celebrities to keep her head above water. The desire is summed up perfectly by Lisa (Joseph, 2001). She always wanted to be somebody so if she couldn’t be somebody; she wanted to date someone who was. This type of thinking is what causes many fans to turn into fanatics. They obsessed over people simply because of whom they are and how famous they are.
Stalking is not only limited to celebrities, however average people are in danger of being stalked just as well (Thomas, 2003). In the case of simple obsession stalkers, victims aren’t chosen based on celebrity status or popularity, rather their past relationships with the stalker. Simple obsession stalkers harass people who they have been involved with in previous relationships, most of the time; the victim puts an end to the relationship, which seems to be tragic to the stalker. Suddenly, the stalker feels that his or her life has been destroyed, and that they simply cannot live without having that person back. The reasoning behind the stalking is that they feel like they have no self worth in the world and that it’s a necessity to have the person back in order to regain their identity and power that they once had. The person falls into a deep state of denial, refusing to accept the idea that they will have to go on in life without that person.
Stalking is not always based on positive feelings and desire to by love. Some people stalk to seek revenge or simply out of pure hatred for a person. Sometimes stalking can occur in the workplace. A large number of murders due to stalking are carried out by people who have recently been fired from a job and who want to get revenge on the person who fired them. Psychotherapists sometimes become targets of stalking as well. They are severely harassed by former patients of theirs. Dissatisfaction, anger, and hatred are a few reasons that can fuel stalkers to harass and sometimes abuse- or even kill their victims (Thomas, 2003).
Taking charge and admitting there is a domestic abuse problem is the key to starting to take back ones life, but the legal system must also be utilized to ensure individual rights are preserved and protected (Joseph, 2001). While great strides have been made in recent years to strengthen laws and educate judges on how to address domestic violence cases effectively, there is still work to be done. Some domestic violence cases have languished in district circuit courts for years. Because there are weak justices and numerous loop holes in the written law, there are criminals who will return to society un-rehabilitated seeking revenge or to target another to abuse.
The feminist movement during the 1970s fundamentally changed society’s attitude towards domestic violence (Logan, 2006). Women who formerly had been battered and abused developed services for domestic violence victims. They also lobbied for government support of these services and raised awareness of domestic violence. Since then, numerous changes have taken place to address the problem of domestic violence. Class action lawsuits and civil-damage suits forced law enforcement agencies to revise their policies and adapt processes to better address domestic violence. Domestic violence incidents were, in many states, established as crimes against the state, resulting in the victim no longer having to press charges. Law enforcement officers today are often trained on how to respond to domestic violence incidents. The medical community also felt the need to act in response to domestic violence. In Delaware, for example, the Delaware Coalition against Domestic Violence together with Delaware’s medical community and the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council (DVCC) developed a manual for healthcare providers addressing how to respond to domestic violence (Stephen, 2002). The DVCC also trains hospitals and clinics, police officers, prosecutors, judicial officers, court personnel, executives, faith-based personnel, social workers, advocates, probation officers, and therapists throughout the First State on domestic violence.
While most laws pertaining to domestic violence are on the state level, the federal government also responded to domestic violence. For example, it is a federal offence to travel from one state to another to commit domestic violence or to force an intimate partner to cross state lines in an attempt to commit domestic violence. Additionally, the federal government passed interstate stalking legislation making it a federal offence to cross state lines in an attempt to stalk a victim, and also barred offenders from carrying and owning weapons. The Violence against Women Act (VAWA) further protects victims of domestic violence and provides funding for services. VAWA also requires that the victim, if so desired, be heard at a bail hearing with regard to the danger posed by the defendant. VAWA also stipulates that the victim be reimbursed for costs occurred to the victim in obtaining a restraining order and other costs connected to a domestic violence conviction. Another important aspect of VAWA is the ability for battered and abused spouses and children of citizens and lawful permanent residents to self-petition for independent legal residency. Before VAWA, immigrant victims had to fear deportation when leaving an abusive relationship (Logan, 2006).
Since the late 1970s, states took an active role in domestic violence prevention. About a third of domestic violence outreach and services are funded from state level (Stephen, 2002). Most states have laws that allow prosecutors to charge abusers without having to involve the victim. Many times victims are no longer are required to testify against their abusers. In 1997, a total of seven states and the nation’s capital had mandatory arrest laws on the books that required law enforcement to make an arrest if there is evidence of an assault. Even more states encouraged such arrests. A 1984 study showed that arresting abusers lowered the re-arrest rate within the next 6 months for domestic violence to 10%. However, more studies are needed to replicate these findings (Stephen, 2002).
According to the study, most intimate partner abuse is not reported to law enforcement, making it difficult to know exactly how many men and women are abused. Only about 20 percent of all rapes, 25 percent of physical assaults, and 50% of stalking incidents against women were reported to law enforcement. The number of victimizations of men by intimate partners reported to police is even smaller. A general belief that the police cannot help or would not do anything keeps victims from reporting abuse or stalking incidents (Stephen, 2002).
Many positions related to domestic violence are held by social workers. Social workers often help clients build s support system by referring them to resources they need and by helping them gain access to such services. Social workers may also be involved in crisis and long term counselling to help victims make significant decisions. Additionally, social workers may develop and co-lead support groups for victims, lobby on a national or state level for funding, and perform advocacy work. Advocacy work may include fund raising, training, explaining domestic violence, speaking to the media about domestic violence, developing materials to give to battered women, and community education. These are only a few of the essential functions performed by social workers in the domestic violence field.
In 1993, following the murder of a woman by her ex-lover, who violently harassed her in breach of a protection order before killing her , the New South Wales Parliament responded by enacting a separate offence of “Stalking” which is now part of the Crimes Act. Stalking is conduct that is harassing or threatening, directed at a person with the intention to cause intimidation or fear. It is a form of non-physical violence, causing psychological and emotional abuse (Logan, 2006). The awakening of concern about this type of behaviour was caused by its prevalence in domestic violence cases. Firstly, the nature of the offence of stalking makes it inappropriate to prosecute under the current law of criminal assault. Related to this is the severe impact that stalking behaviour inflicts on its victims.
The current law of assault is simply not broad enough to deal with the complexities that arise from an offence such as stalking. Assault is an act, which intentionally or recklessly causes another to apprehend immediate and unlawful personal violence, charged under s61 of the Crimes Act. At the essence of the offence of assault is a requirement that the threat created by the offender must cause a fear of imminent violence in the victim. Stalking involves instances where a person does not explicitly threaten their victim but silently follows them around or sits outside their dwelling. When placed in this context, such behaviour is dangerous beyond its immediate significance. Although, it is difficult to charge this as assault since it is not sufficient that the threat raises apprehension that violence will be inflicted at some time in the future.
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The inability to prosecute an offence that is of a similar nature to stalking under the law of assault was apparent in the case of Knight. Knight had made a series of phone calls threatening to kill or injure those involved his prior conviction, including a policeman, a magistrate and to a judge who later dismissed his appeal (Logan, 2006). On appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeal, his conviction for these offences was quashed on the basis that the requirement of a threat of immediate violence was not satisfied. Even though his behaviour caused fear and was dangerous, it fell short of the necessary accuses and hence could not be sanctioned under the law of criminal assault (Paul, 2000).
Alternatively, the case of Ireland demonstrates an instance where an offence with characteristics that can be likened to stalking was successfully prosecuted under assault. The accused had proceeded to harass a woman whom he had a prior social relationship with, by making both silent and abusive phone calls, frequenting her place of work and home and taking photographs of the victim and her family. While fearful of personal violence the victim was also diagnosed with suffering a severe depressive illness. The offender’s behaviour amounted to assault. This reasoning was founded on the fact that the victim’s fear of the caller arriving at her door could be seen as imminent since he may be making the calls in close proximity to her home and able to arrive at her door within minutes. However the legal reasoning in this case, has been criticised for being rather artificial by stretching assault beyond its natural legal meaning. As shown in Knight, most stalking cases are not suitable for prosecution under the elements of criminal assault.
The main area of assault also poses difficulty for the prosecution of stalking. It is constituted by intention to either affect an unlawful contact or to create an apprehension of imminent unlawful contact in the mind of the victim (Larry, 2000). Despite that the common law of assault is now more accommodating to the offence of stalking, through developing an interpretation of harm to include psychiatric as well as physical injury (Logan, 2006). It is still difficult to prove the “imminence” requirement in both of most stalking cases where the threat of harm is protracted rather than immediate (Sandra, 2007). Therefore, there is more rationale in treating stalking as a separate offence with its own specific elements rather than distorting the elements of assault to accommodate for the manifestations of stalking.
The wide-ranging and severe impact of stalking further necessitates the need for a separate offence of stalking to deal with this crime. The psychological responses caused by stalking such as anxiety, fear, paranoia and often symptoms of post- traumatic stress disorder have been acknowledged in a study as emotions induced by stalkers. This research has found that 94% of victims have made changes to lifestyle patterns such as temporary or permanent relocation, changing personal contact information and even identities. Perhaps more compelling is that victims of a recent psychopathological study indicated that they might have coped better with more tangible damage of physical assault than with a stalkers constant intrusion and menace (Paul, 2000).
Furthermore, stalking is often a precursor to severe and fatal physical violence as demonstrated in the case of Thomas v Burk. In this instance the applicant had been in a previous relationship with the complainant. After they separated, the complainant experienced many incidents of stalking such as receiving harassing telephone calls at work and being followed on a vacation trip. These incidents eventually escalated to physical abuse when on one occasion, the applicant stroked the complainant with such force across the face with an open hand that it caused injury to her eye. This is one of many cases that reflect the statistic that 80% of women who report being stalked by an intimate partner are eventually physically assaulted (Sandra, 2007). It therefore becomes apparent that there is a need to take preventative action. Such as prosecuting this behaviour under an offence of stalking at its early stage, rather than waiting until the situation amplifies and the victim is physically assaulted and only then taking action by prosecuting for assault.
Sexual Harassment is defined as a continuum of behaviours that intimidate, demean, humiliate or coerce (Diane, 2006). These behaviours range from the subtle forms that can accumulate into a hostile working, learning, or worshipping environment to the most severe forms of stalking, assault or rape. For many businesses, preventing sexual harassment, and defending its managerial employees from sexual harassment charges, has become key goals of legal decision making. In contrast, many scholars complain that sexual harassment in education remains a forgotten secret, with educators and administrators refusing to admit the problem exist in their schools, or accept their legal and ethical responsibilities to deal with it. Previously stalking behaviour has been prosecuted as offensive conduct under s4 of the Summary Offences Act. An artificial reasoning was drawn by the courts that stalking was offensive from the fact that it was continued or repeated. While offensive conduct carries a light maximum penalty of three months this may be satisfactory for minor instances of stalking but it is a clearly an inappropriate reflection of the magnitude of behaviour that amounts to intimidation and harassment. The protracted nature of stalking and the serious implications on its victims necessitates the need for a specific offence of stalking with its own appropriate penalty in order to capture the severity of the offence. This is arguably more effective than collapsing this offence into the category of offensive conduct or treating it as criminal assault. The offender would then, also have to bear the stigma of being labelled a stalker (Larry, 2000).
In 2006 study on sexual harassment at colleges and universities, it was reported that 62% of female college students and 61% of male college students report having been sexually harassed at their university, with 80% of the reported harassment being peer-to-peer. Fifty-one percent of male college students admit to sexually harassing someone in college, with 22% admitting to harassing someone often or occasionally (Diane, 2006). Thirty-one percent of female college students admitted to harassing someone in college. Sexual harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances. The harasser can be anyone, such as a supervisor, a client, a co-worker, a teacher or professor, a student, a friend, or a stranger. The victim does not have to be the person directly harassed but can be anyone who finds the behaviour offensive and is affected by it. While adverse effects on the victim are common, this does not have to be the case for the behaviour to be unlawful. The victim can be a male or female. The harasser can be male or female. The harasser does not have to be of the opposite sex. The harasser may be completely unaware that his or her behaviour is offensive or constitutes sexual harassment or may be completely unaware that his or her actions could be unlawful.
There are however, some instances where a criminal sanction may not constitute an effective strategy of deterring further stalking even though the impact on the victim is traumatic. This mainly applies to the category of stalkers classified as “erotomaniacs” who are mentally ill. It would be more appropriate to deal with these stalkers through the mental health system as they are impervious to judicial sanctions and thus require assertive psychiatric management. The inefficacy of using stalking legislation to punish a perpetrator who has a psychiatric condition was illustrated in the case of Strong v The Queen. The appellant had been sentenced to imprisonment for the offence of stalking a female contrary to s562ABof the Crimes Act 1900(NSW) (Paul, 2000). Whilst serving his sentence in prison, the accused began writing sexually suggestive letters to another female with whom he had no prior relationship. After his release, he continued with his stalking behaviour by following and watching her and subsequently moved to live opposite her home. This conduct became the basis of another substantive charge of stalking for which he was again imprisoned. On appeal of this conviction the issue was raised that he had been diagnosed with suffering symptoms of psychosis. The Criminal Court of Appeal agreed that in cases such as this, the offender’s condition should be managed under mental health legislation rather than sanctioned under the criminal law. This case demonstrates the inability of the criminal law to deter psychiatrically ill stalkers as the rate of recidivism of people in this category suggests. However, it is important to note that the majority population of stalkers are from the intimate category of non- psychotic ex partners and are not mentally ill at the time of committing the offence.
Courts can issue an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order under s562AE of the Crimes Act 1900(NSW) or an Apprehended Personal Violence Order under s562AI of the Crimes Act 1900(NSW). Unfortunately this method of dealing with stalking offences is often criticised for having little effect on serious obsessive behaviours exhibited by some offenders. A recent study has shown that after issuance of an apprehended violence order, stalking and physical violence was reduced in the first six months only to reoccur in over half the cases of women who undertook the study. This shows that these orders are an inappropriate long-term prevention tool. Helen Katzen reported in her study that of the 22,556 apprehended violence orders granted in New South Wales in 1998, 9,647 breaches were recorded by the police (Joseph, 2001). The ease with which these orders are breached and the fact that they are not taken seriously is reflected in the case of Long field v Glover. The appellant had been in a relationship with the complainant. When the relationship ended she obtained an apprehended domestic violence order, which prohibited the appellant contacting her. He disregarded this order and persisted calling her at home and at work, making threatening statements such as “I control your life” (Michele, 2002). Similarly in the case of R v Powell, the appellant had broken into the victims premises in breach of an apprehended violence order and maliciously wounded her by stabbing her twice in the back. Both these cases demonstrate the inability of these orders to deter offenders which highlights how inefficient a mechanism they, are for dealing with such behaviour.
Furthermore, apprehended violence orders were found in many cases to be aggravating factors, which exacerbate the likelihood of violence (Paul, 2000). This was exemplified in the case of Igbinoba v Commissioner of New South Wales Police Service, where a court issuance of an apprehended domestic violence order aroused further anger in the defendant towards the complainant, which resulted in a threat being made towards her that he was going to get her (Paul, 2000). Shortly after receiving the order, the defendant started a campaign of harassment against her and physically assaulted her. Recent research shows that incarceration has a sobering effect on stalkers and allows them to adjust their lives. This supports the idea that a more preventative approach would be to immediately prosecute this behaviour under an offence of stalking with a prison sentence, rather than wait for breach of an order to occur by which time the situation may have escalated to a degree of violence.
While, it is impractical to contain all stalking offences by criminalising them, it is also inefficient for the court to proceed with prosecuting minor nuisances under the stalking legislation. Many of these cases would not lead to any conviction due to the lack of the requisite intent necessary to prove the offence. In 1998, two example cases were given by the model criminal code committee where stalking legislation was used inappropriately (Joseph, 2001). In the first case a fourteen year old girl had stalked her teacher, by following him around school and singing a mocking song about the teacher. In the later case Yugoslavian parents had stalked their teenage daughters because they had moved away from home in violation of family traditions. These stalking incidents are more commonly known as conformist who is the stalking falls within the acceptable range of social behaviour rather than criminal stalking. Neither of these cases led to convictions. In circumstances such as these, applicants are more likely to succeed in obtaining apprehended violence orders since they would only be required to prove on the balance of probabilities, that they are in fear of the other person and that these fears could culminate into an act of personal violence or harassing conduct (Sandra, 2007).
With advances in technology people see new and scary ways criminals commit crimes. With the introduction of cell phones and scanners years ago, criminals could listen to police radio traffic and see where and how we police were responding. No need for look outs, technology became the look out. Now in the computer age people see crimes from identity theft and hacking into computers to steal personal and corporate confidential information to cyber stalking and sexual predating to cell phone cloning. Criminals have a whole new playground and the playground as technology advances (Lorraine, 2008). But technology is not just for criminals. Law enforcement agencies are using technology to make police work more effective and efficient. Also police and communities are also using technology to make their communities safer.
Cyber stalking is described as the procedure or offense of deliberately and constantly irritating another person in situation that would cause a sensible person to panic harm or death because of articulated or obscured fears is a comparatively latest trouble. Annoying others over the Internet is a little that usually happens, but the word constantly placed in front of that report can make a huge distinction. If someone is causing a nescience that interferes with ones’ professional or individual life it is measured stalking. Catching the criminals of computer is the tough part. There are “Computer Crime Stopper” groups, hackers turned excellent, whose only intention and job is to track down and catch criminals of computer (Keith, 2002).
Activity of tracking computer is a hard thing to do, particularly over the Internet. There is no track left for the criminal to be followed through. Generally the only things crime-stoppers have to go on are the IP addresses and telecommunication lines to trace to find the source of the signal, but the performer is generally long gone through the time authorities arrive. Anticipation is a vital part in defending the computers of these days. Through secure servers, which are particular c
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